Mar 12, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Hector Noesi (48) pitches against the San Francisco Giants at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Though Will Ferrell might have been the star attraction in the ninth inning on Thursday during the Chicago White Sox Cactus League game against the San Francisco Giants, the early stages of the game had a lot riding on it for starting pitcher Hector Noesi.
Noesi pitched three innings for the White Sox against the reigning World Series champion Giants, where he allowed one earned run on two hits and one walk.
The right-handed pitcher did strike out three in what was considered a no-decision.
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Noesi faced a total of 11 batters in this spring outing, a game where the White Sox eventually lost, 7-4. In a split-squad game earlier in the day, the White Sox lost, 7-3 to the Texas Rangers.
Thus far this spring, Noesi, who is most likely the No. 5 starter once Chris Sale returns from his injury, has pitched a total of five innings, where he’s built a 1.80 ERA.
This spring is very important for Noesi, because his spot in the rotation isn’t set in stone all season with one Carlos Rodon (the No. 3 overall selection of the 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft) waiting in the wings, though his first two outings haven’t been so great.
Feb 28, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodon poses for a portrait during photo day at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
In two outings in his first spring with the White Sox, Rodon has a 6.23 ERA in 4.1 innings pitched. Rodon does have five strikeouts, but he’s allowed six hits and three earned runs.
Scott Merkin of WhiteSox.com reported about Rodon’s last outing on Wednesday against the American League champion Kansas City Royals:
"“The southpaw fanned four over two scoreless innings during his debut last Friday against the Padres, throwing 31 pitches. Rodon needed 30 pitches to get through the first inning Wednesday, yielding three runs on four hits.”"
That’s OK, though, because for Rodon, this spring is just about learning and fine-tuning his skill until his eventual MLB debut, whenever that may be.
As for Noesi, it is a good thing to see he’s outplaying his competition within the organization after two games, and maybe having the pressure of knowing Rodon is waiting will help Noesi become a better pitcher this upcoming season.
If the White Sox have a reliable No. 4 or 5 starter in the back of the rotation, they could cause headaches for many teams in the American League in ’15.